Meet Cliff

Meet Cliff. Licence plate ANFA 097

This is Cliff. He doesn't like me.

Hi everyone. I’d like you to meet Cliff. He was a passenger in this Mazda 5, licence plate ANFA 097. I don’t know if people ever Google their own licence plates, but I sure hope Cliff does. I also don’t know if Cliff is his real name, but that’s what I’m calling him. He looks kind of like a Cliff, doesn’t he? Much moreso than, say, a Norm, Sam, or Carla. He gave me a name too: “Asshole.” He calls me an asshole because he and his wife/daughter/mistress/something needed to park in the Cosburn bike lane on Wednesday evening for “just a second.” I’m an asshole because I straddled my bike behind their car, waiting for them to leave. I’m an asshole because I “could have just gone around.” I’m an asshole because it’s Cliff’s inalienable right to park for “just a second” in a bike lane directly in front of a No Stopping sign and maybe 6 feet away from an apartment driveway that had several empty visitor parking spots. Coincidentally, the No Stopping roadsign and adjacent off-street parking flank Cliff’s head in the picture above. Of course, I’m an even bigger asshole for pointing that out.

Cliff says I’m an asshole because his mother/secretary/masseuse/whathaveyou has her flashers on, and all that flashing lets you do anything you want. Cliff says I’m an asshole because his caregiver/trustee/court-mandated escort/whatever is breaking the law which, he assures me, doesn’t apply if you are stopping for “just a second.” Apparently, 4-way flashers temporarily suspend all nearby laws. Except the law of gravity, which cannot be repealed by mere light bulbs, no matter how many of them are flashing in unison. But even time itself is warped inside the event horizon of flashers: I was waiting behind them and dinging my bell for a full two minutes, while Cliff insisted repeatedly that they were parked in the bike lane for “just a second.” I’m lucky my atoms weren’t torn apart by the tidal forces, being, as I was, both so close and such a sizeable asshole.

Cliff says I should “just fuck off.” I’ve got some nerve, trying to ride my bike in the bike lane when it is clearly intended to be used for cars to park in. I mean, why else would they put it at the side of the road like that? I really ought to be ashamed, dinging my bell and so flustering Cliff that he was reduced to spewing a virtually incoherent string of obscenities at me. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s normally a fairly lucid fellow, though I have no direct evidence of it. I do have direct evidence of that pulsing vein in his forehead. He really ought to have that looked at. Perhaps I should pity the poor persecuted motorist, unable to park in the bike lane for “just a second” without some uppity cyclist coming along and ruining his day by pointing out that he’s endangering others. But it’s really hard to pity someone who screams at you when you gently call him out on his anti-social behaviour. Hey Cliff, you think I’m the asshole? I’ve got news for you, buddy.

Anyway Cliff, I accept your apology for parking in the bike lane and endangering cyclists for no reason beyond your own perceived entitlement. I didn’t quite hear the actual words through all of your bluster and spittle, but I think I got the gist of it.

8 Replies to “Meet Cliff”

  1. Looking ahead through the windows of that vehicle, you can see that Cliff had another friend parked in the bike lane just a little further ahead too. heh.

  2. it is a bummer, but I just wish the coppers would see this and do something about it. His license plate though? unless he hurt you personally and needed to find him I would play fair.

    1. I’d be happy to “play fair” if I had been afforded the same respect. Or for that matter, any respect. Frankly, I’m tired of playing fair and being shat on while I smile like an idiot. Since neither Cliff nor his driver were interested in acknowledging—never mind apologizing for—their infraction and the danger it caused to others (a cyclist who had been riding behind me was squeezed between the parked car and a passing truck) and chose instead to respond with name-calling and chest-thumping, I feel absolutely no need to make nice.

      Still, I could have fired up WordPress when I got home and posted an article calling him names far worse and well-deserved than he called me. But as a human being who is capable of some degree of higher thought, I’m able to take a breath and not simply put on a show of bluster and fury to defend my territory in the jungle. Instead of spewing epithets in his direction, I merely reported what he said to me and how he said it.

      And for the record, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with publishing a picture of someone standing beside his (or someone else’s) car in public and making the contents of that picture Googleable on the off chance that he’ll see it.

  3. The purpose of licence plates is to identify lawbreakers. Cliff was breaking the law. Publishing a photo of Cliff and the licence plate is a great idea. In fact, I’d like to see a collection of such photos. We could call it the Bike Lane Violators Registry. If it got to be humongous, Googling plate numbers would reveal repeat offenders.

  4. God, and there’s parking not 30 feet away. What a COLOSSAL asshole. I’d really, really like to see the cops ticketing people who seem to think hazard lights are a legitimate suspension of traffic laws. Picking up? Dropping off? Unless you have “TTC” on the side of your vehicle, GET OFF THE FUCKING ROAD.

  5. Parking in the bike lane’s not even that convenient when you have to pull out into traffic again.

    The whole site is no more, so you should definitely post this to so people can find out just how special Cliff is.

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